Vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas fails in House

Alejandro Mayorkas

WASHINGTON — A vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday failed in the House, preventing the ouster of a Cabinet member by Congress for the first time in 148 years.

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The vote was 214-216 not to pass HR-863.

GOP members Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Tom McClintock of California voted no, according to The New York Times.

Republican Rep. Blake Moore of Utah also voted no to allow House Republicans to bring up the vote again, CNN reported.

House Republicans charged in two articles of impeachment that Mayorkas, 64, had willfully refused to enforce laws at the southern borders of the United States and breached the public trust, The New York Times reported.

GOP representatives accused Mayorkas of “refusing to comply” with immigration laws, leading to a record influx of immigrants at the U.S-Mexico border, The Associated Press reported.

The vote had been expected to be close on party lines. House Speaker Mike Johnson could only afford to lose two Republican votes.

If Mayorkas had been impeached, a vote for conviction in the Democratic-controlled Senate was unlikely. A two-thirds vote was required to remove the secretary from office.

The only Cabinet member to be impeached was William Belknap, the secretary of war for President Ulysses S. Grant, in May 1876. While Belknap had resigned his post over corruption two months earlier, the House nevertheless issued five articles of impeachment.

Belknap was accused of financing an extravagant lifestyle in Washington over a five-year period. He was accused of accepting kickbacks from entrepreneur Caleb Marsh to choose one of the man’s associates to operate a lucrative trading post at Fort Sill in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

On August 1, 1876, a majority of senators voted to convict Belknap on all five counts, but each fell short of the necessary two-thirds required for removal.

Belknap was never prosecuted further and died in 1890.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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